Section 120: Review of decisions under Part 3
284.This section allows decisions taken by the OFT, CC or Secretary of State in connection with a merger reference or possible merger reference to be reviewed by the CAT. The grounds of review are those that would be applied by a court on an application for judicial review. Case law suggests such grounds could include: (i) that an error of law was made; (ii) that there was a material procedural error, such as a material failure of an inquiry panel to comply with the Chairman's procedural rules; (iii) that a material error as to the facts has been made; and (iv) that there was some other material illegality (such as unreasonableness or lack of proportionality). Judicial review evolves over time and the approach in subsection (6) has been taken to ensure the grounds of review continue to mirror any such developments.
Section 121: Fees
285.This section provides that the Secretary of State may, by order, require fees to be paid to her, or the OFT for the exercise of their merger regulation functions, and those of the CC. It provides that the order may specify that fees are payable in public interest cases, special public interest cases and mergers of water and newspaper enterprises, as well as cases referred on competition grounds under sections 22 and 33. This section replaces section 152 Companies Act 1989.
Section 122: Primacy of Community law
286.This section ensures that advice or information published by the competition authorities by virtue of section 106 covers the effect of Community law where appropriate. Subsections (3)-(5) also ensure that a reference can be made under the domestic regime following a delay arising from the operation of the ECMR.
Section 123: Power to alter the share of supply test
287.This section provides a power for the Secretary of State to amend or replace the share of supply test set out in section 23. In exercising this power, the Secretary of State must have regard to the desirability of ensuring that any amended or new condition continues to operate by reference to the degree of commercial strength which may result from the merger. The Secretary of State must also consult the OFT and the Commission before making an order.
Section 125: Offences by bodies corporate
288.This section provides for the circumstances in which individual officers of companies, partners of Scottish partnerships and members of limited liability partnerships may be held responsible for the conduct of their companies or partnerships in committing offences. Offences may be attributable to consent and connivance, or to neglect.
Section 126: Service of documents
289.This section sets out how any document served on any person (individual, body corporate, partnership or limited liability partnership) under the merger provisions may be served.
Section 127: Associated persons
290.This section explains, in particular for the purpose of deciding whether enterprises have come under common control or ownership, which persons will be considered to be “associated persons” under this model and therefore to be treated as one person. This includes relatives, trustees and business partners. The term “relative” is also defined in this section for further clarification. This section reflects and updates section 77 FTA 1973.
Section 128: Supply of services and market for services etc.
291.This section follows the definition of ‘supply of services’ in section 137(3) of the FTA 1973, with two modifications. The first modification is the inclusion of new subsection (4), which provides that the supply of services includes making arrangements for a person to receive computer software or data such as information, music or photographs. This is intended to cover electronic supply. Such persons are not receiving anything in physical form and so might not otherwise be receiving ‘goods’. This provision ensures that such consumers will be considered to be receiving a service. The second change is the omission from the definition of ‘supply of services’ of provisions corresponding to sections 137(3)(c), (d), (e) and (g) of the FTA 1973, which relate to the making of arrangements to permit the use of land in certain specified circumstances. The Secretary of State is however given a power by order to extend the definition of the supply of services involving arrangements permitting the use of land as in section 137(3A) of the FTA 1973. It is intended that this order-making power will be used to reinstate those provisions relating to the use of land in section 137(3) that are relevant to this Part before this Part of the Act comes into force.